My post-partum body brings out all my worst body issues. The truth is,I like to be skinny. I really like it. My excuse for obsessing about this is that since I don't have money or time for nice clothes, fancy hair, or getting my eyebrows tweezed it is fine to allow myself the vanity of worrying about my shape.
Still, I know I should not be so vain. I should find some joy in that soft, curvy and yes, bumpy and scarred, body that my pregnancies have given me. In that light, here are some things I find wonderful about the chubby side of having babies.
- I realized when I was cuddling and nursing and sleeping with my first little one that babies don't mind a soft mama. In fact, I think they prefer it. Maybe being lean and hard looks better on a billboard, but babies like a warm, cuddly, padded place to cuddle up. And no baby ever thought that their mama was fat. No, they like us just fine the way we are.
- I vividly remember my favorite line from 30 Rock. Alec Baldwin touching a mature woman's breast and telling her it felt like a half empty bag of cream of mushroom soup. Seriously- that still makes me laugh out loud. Maybe I should be insulted that somebody said on television what those of us who have had the audacity to birth/breastfeed/or simply grow older already knew about the feel of our breasts. Maybe I should be embarrassed that the secret is out! No more hiding behind a $75 bra- oh no! The truth is out- the twins do not hold themselves up anymore. Gravity wins- again. But it doesn't make me mad at all. In fact, I am just glad to know that I am not the only one. This happens to everybody. Oh yes sisters, we are in this one together.
- Watching what having four children, gaining and losing about 180 pounds in the last six years, has done to my once 20 year old body, has given me some more understanding. Yes, I am in need of constant reminders to be more humble. And this time, I am starting to understand, just a little, why the tummy tuck was invented. So- if you have embraced plastics, I don't think I will join you (I actually have a strong aversion to abdominal surgery) but I get you. Still, we might not be able to be friends any more because your stomach will look better than mine. It might be worth it to you though...
- I have started exercising. I started after the birth of my first child. It was always something that I knew in theory was good for me. But honestly, I looked fine without it before I had kids, so, why bother? But now I exercise. Regularly, hard and with a mission. The gift of a healthy lifestyle and being active is one that I am so grateful to be able to give to my kids and something I probably never would have discovered if I was one of those women who gained 15 pounds when she got pregnant and wore her skinny jeans out of the hospital. (I am still faintly jealous of her though, but that is a separate issue altogether.)
- Continuing on that theme, I just started running again this week. My kids are ages 6, 4, 2 and newborn. When I got up this week to head out everybody was clamoring to come with me. "Wait for me mom! Don't leave!" I have to admit that it makes me feel pretty good that they still think spending time with me is awesome. I doubt that in 10 years they will all want to spend their days surrounded by mama. But right now they do, it it makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Better in fact than that stomach I had way back when that was stretch mark free.
- This sounds contradictory, but another thing that is awesome about being chubby and starting to exercise is the time ALONE it gives me. My morning runs are so nice sometimes too when the kids ARE NOT there. When I am alone or with a friend, well, sometimes it is the only time I have with my thoughts or with another female all day long. That too is something I enjoy because of these children I have borne.
- This morning my son said, "You're not fat mama! You just had a baby!" Thanks honey. I love kids. Maybe I should listen to them a little more often.
So ladies, lets remember, to them, our children, we are not fat or skinny or short or tall, we are just - Mama.